Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developers Conference today with a preview of its upcoming OS updates. Starting with iOS 15, Apple unveiled new features that bring enhancements to FaceTime and new tools that help users reduce distractions. FaceTime has been upgraded with spatial audio for a more natural sound and a Portrait mode has been introduced to blur backgrounds sharpen the focus on the user. Another big update to FaceTime is SharePlay that lets users listen to songs or even watch video together and they've expanded FaceTime calls to both Android and Windows users via a web browser.
iOS 15 also introduces new ways to reduce distractions with a feature called Focus that can filter notifications during work hours or the evening and an all-new notifications experience makes apps easier to identify and it can also prioritize urgent notifications to ensure you're always dialed into your most important messages.
Additionally, iOS 15 will include a Live Text feature that can recognize text in a photo and enable actions such as identifying relevant text such as a phone number on a storefront or copying a Wi-Fi password at the local cafe. There are also major updates to Maps with enhanced details to improve navigation whether you're in a car or on foot, added support for identity cards, redesigned weather and notes apps, and enhanced privacy features.
iPadOS 15 introduces an updated multitasking experience with a new menu that appears at the top of apps to make it easier to access Split View or Slide Over and they've also enhanced this for external keyboard users with new shortcuts. One feature we imagine will be a big hit with users is Quick Note that takes Notes systemwide to allow for instant notetaking with or without an Apple Pencil. Safari also gets a redesign with a new tab bar that implements the color of the webpage to better identify your tabs and there are also Tab Groups that can sync to both your Mac and iPhone and web extensions are now supported.
The most popular smartwatch in the world is getting some new fitness and wellness upgrades with Tai Chi and Pilates workout types, a new redesign to the Breathe app, which is now called Mindfulness, and a sleeping respiratory rate feature that can track the number of breaths per minute to monitor your overall sleep quality. watchOS 8 also features a redesigned Portraits watch face that better integrates the time, improved Messages capabilities, and the addition of the Contacts app.
macOS also got a big update today with the reveal of macOS Monterey with big updates to how you work across your devices, Safari, Shortcuts, and FaceTime. One major feature for owners of multiple devices is Universal Control, which lets users seamlessly use a single mouse and keyboard on your Mac and iPad. For example, if your Mac is next to your iPad, your mouse cursor moves across screens with no additional setup and you can drag and drop content between screens. Apple also added Airplay to Mac so you can instantly stream your iPhone or iPad content to any Mac desktop, Live Text for detecting text in photos, spatial audio support for the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, and enhanced privacy and accessibility features.
Apple's OS updates will be available for public beta next month with a full release set for this fall.